Texas Silver Alert Case Finds Vulnerabilities in Search for Missing Seniors
The death of missing Abilene senior Betty Stover has prompted an examination of the criteria used for the Texas Silver Alert program.
Stover went missing on May 22, 2018, when she was last seen at a south Abilene gas station. Her family reported Stover missing on May 24th. But a Silver Alert was not issued until May 29th, after her family was finally able to gather documentation proving that Stover had dementia.
Stover’s body was discovered around 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 by a rancher off of County Road 184 in the Lemons Gap area, which is southwest of Tuscola, Texas.
From the news story on KTXS-TV:
“One of the criteria for the Silver Alert program is that it’s a documented mental illness,” said Joshua Ward, a detective from the Abilene Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit.
Ward would not answer specific questions about Stover’s case, but he did talk about what problems can arise when authorities try to issue a Silver Alert.
“There are inevitably complications when dealing with medical records,” Ward said. “As law enforcement, under extreme circumstances, we can’t often get them due to HIPAA laws, there are challenges we face to delay that.”